Shadegan the unhappy happiness!

SHADEGAN” is derived from the word Shad (happy) in Farsi and means happiness.

It has been nearly two decades since Shadegan, Iran’s largest wetland, was listed in Montreux record. The record addresses the endangered waters and is primarily aimed at giving the states heads-up for if they hesitate to take timely and efficient action, not only will they lose the areas listed in the Ramsar international convention, but they also will truly confirm the fact that an internationally important wetland is an extravagance they cannot afford and do not deserve. Haplessly, however, the governors of Pardisan building (Iran’s environmental conservation organization), resting assured of their chairs, have never bowed to such conventions and threats.

I need to mention that the wetland with its area of almost 538000 hectares, covers a little more than one third of the area of all wetlands in Iran which have been internationally recognized and included in the Ramsar convention. Even though Shadegan, with an area of almost 538000 hectares, occupies less than 0.3%  of the entire country, it provides a natural habitat for 30% of the all bird population (154 species), 25 % of all mammal population (40 species), and 45% of all fish population (36 species of wetland fish plus 45 species of sea fish). In addition, almost 30 major societies of plants consisting of 110 species (5.1% of Iran’s plants population), 3 species of amphibians, and 9 species of reptiles; and finally 4 different types of shrimps, all on the verge of nonexistence, are amongst inhabitants cohabiting in this matchless habitat. With the prospect of 100000 locals, living within the immediate vicinity of the wetland, who will possibly lose their only source of livelihood for which they have no alternative, the extent and depth of the disaster becomes even more alarming.

Yet the question is what have we done, since the convention, so as to control the situation? Have we been able to control the constant oil spill from old worn out pipes into the area? Have we been able to preserve the wetland’s water right? Have we thwarted illegal hunting? Have we prevented the sewage from sugar cane, steel and petrochemical industries from entering the wetland? Have we relocated the residential areas inside the wetland elsewhere? Have we built the infrastructure required to create an affluent eco-tourism? Have we issued sufficient permits or given enough freedom of action to environment conservation NGOs? Have we given a single thought to the existence of 30 petrochemical units and their subsequent pollution in the area? Have we…?

Do we need to review the answers to all these questions? Do I really need to tell you that the water entering Shadegan has decreased by nearly 30% and that the quality of the remaining water is in fact so poor that it is virtually impossible to find a living thing? Last year, I (author) had the chance of riding over the lake by boat twice and two hours each time. Much to my regret,  not even one single living creature could be seen slithering amongst the water to promise a brighter future. By the same token, the studies on the sweet water part of Shadegan conducted by Aquaculture Research Center of Southern Iran in 1995, 2008 and 2010 show significant decline in the quality and quantity indices confirming the extent of the critical situation; These studies also indicate a biomass production rate of about 4.5 times less than previous years.

It is even more saddening to learn that owing to the opening of Omidieh refinery, the wetland is now losing another 6583000 m3 of its annual water right which is no doubt a good reason to give the authorities in charge of Iran’s environmental conservation a standing ovation for their remarkable determination to preserve our motherland’s ecological capacity!!! Apparently Shadegan will no longer be “happy” and Iran will continue to be the record holder for the number of wetlands still standing on the Montreux register! We are, however, surprisingly enough still living a healthy and prosperous life, aren’t we?!

22 thoughts on “Shadegan the unhappy happiness!

  1. A reporter ventured to this wetland on a boat and says about it:
    We rode the boat throug narrow passages until we arrived at a big open space. This open space was surrounded by a circular wall of reed bed.
    Through the change of small and big spaces a beatiful visual effect is created. Then we arrived at the ابوالفار (Place of mice). There bulls bathed themselves in the still waters of the wetland.
    Then I asked my guide: “Is this place really full of mice?” He replied: “Yes, in the dry season, this place is swarmed by mice.”

    So in my opinion Mr Darvish forgot one species of the mammals’ population, the tiny mice.
    A little bit of Humor is at place somtimes 😉

  2. Here I take the opportunity to thank Shahnaz and Elena for their beautiful reviews and their wonderful comments. hopefully they will go on collaborating with us and will generously share their wisdom.

  3. Hi mohammad its great….great …congratulation ….congratulation. I am so happy that your English blog started and full thank you from your friends who help to translate. I am sure that you will became prominent person in all of the world.
    I enjoy from this word” Haplessly=شوربختانه” .
    best regards

  4. Thank you very much Hamid; however, the intention behind starting this blog is by no means fame. Here, we are trying to open an illuminating window towards our ecosystem which now faces a critical condition.

  5. Good evening and greetings from the shore of the North Sea of Germany on a grey winter’s afternoon,

    Today was a day in the memory of Mr Kambiz Bahram Soltani, so I begin my comment with the memory of his flying ghost over all Iran’s wetlands.
    As Mr Darvish wrote about 100000 locals of the wetland have few opportunities and alternatives to earn income. They’re just poor.
    A reporter of ISNA said about his journeys to the Shadegan Wetland:
    ” I saw women on the shores constantly looking at us. As we arrived at the shore, they came to us and offered us water, which showed their hospitality. I drank the water as an act of courtesy. The water is very salty and bitter and tasted bad, so the first sip was very hard to take. How could this poor people drink this water? They took us to their simple homes made of clay. The house didn’t have an entrance door, with a few rooms build around the yard. These people were so very nice to us without ever meeting us before and without any expectation. Even though these people have many problems and hardship they are content with even the smallest things. I asked a girl ” Do you have many problems here?” and she replied “Thank God, everything is all right, but we don’t have a High School!”.
    And I thought to myself: The Life in the Shadegan Wetland runs along with good and bad sides.

  6. Dear M.P, Though I believe no where goes as gray as Tehran goes these days (unfortunately), the way you mentioned the north shore of Germany was very poetic and nostalgic especially after linking it to memorial ceremony of Kambiz Bahram Soltani, one of Iran’s finest sons and a man who stood for his beloved environment until his last breath. Thanks to his esteemed friends and colleagues from Royan consultant CO. the ceremony was held splendidly and appropriately this evening. Details of the event will be posted later.

  7. Congratulations Mr. Darvish…
    This will start an environmental movement in Iran that could be introduced to the world that Iran’s environment.
    Global audience in a very positive step…!
    good night Mr.Darvish.

  8. As I mentioned earlier, a splendid ceremony was held this evening to honor the memory of Kambiz Bahram Soltani. The highlights of the event were Mrs. Bahram Soltani’s speech to enumerate the deceased’s unique characteristics; Live performance of Iranian traditional music and finally the Dr. Fazel’s (deputy head of Iran’s Environment Conservation Organization) promise to name a building in Miankaleh after Bahram Soltani.

  9. Nice to see your website after almost so long. Reading, visiting writing, doing research on this wetland is making so many doubt in my mind. As environmental economist I was working on this wetland for long time. two researchs were done and I’m thinking has it made any sense? while there is no changes in management or revising in decisions or plocies which affected wetland directly or indirectly…what are we gonna to do? what’s next step? for sure we must do before it totally disappear…bu what? how?

  10. Dear Sarah,

    It’s great to have sb with us who’ve been doing research on the wetland. We think there is still a good chance to do sth before the wetland disappears from the face of the earth forever. however, we need to inform people whether they are in charge or not. everybody, if familiar with the critical extent of the situation, will do their bits. we’d be more than happy if you could share your findings on the blog. anyway, for now WELCOME TO THE CLUB…….

  11. Thanks for very warm welcome. I wish some body finally hear us. Its my great pleasure to send you my recently published papers on shadegan wtland as soon as I can.

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